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Madam Secretary was renewed for a sixth season in May 2019. It was later announced that same month that the sixth season would be the final season of the series and would consist of ten episodes. The sixth season premiered on October 6, 2019.
The first five seasons of Madam Secretary explores Secretary Elizabeth McCord's life as the determined United States Secretary of State. McCord drives international diplomacy, battles office politics, and circumvents protocol if needed as she negotiates worldwide issues. The show also focuses on the personal lives of the characters. However, McCord announced at the end of the fifth season that she would run for President of the United States. The sixth-season premiere reveals that she won her race and became the first female POTUS and the remainder of the series would focus on her new role as President.
Tim Daly as Henry McCord, Elizabeth's husband of 25 years and now First Gentleman of the United States. A theology professor and a former Marine captain/aviator during Operation Desert Storm, his unique blend of skills are sought by the National Security Agency, which engages him as an operative in combating religious extremism. At the end of season3, Henry is named the head of the CIA Special Activities Division.
Bebe Neuwirth as Nadine Tolliver (seasons 1-4), Elizabeth's chief of staff who had a six-year affair with the deceased Secretary of State, Vincent Marsh, beginning when he was a senator. Originally suspicious and resentful of the new Secretary of State, Nadine soon learns to trust Elizabeth, and the two cultivate a strong working relationship. In season1, Nadine slowly begins to date again, romancing NASA Administrator Glenn, and later falls into a relationship with the recurring political consultant Mike Barnow. In season4, Nadine's son Roman tells her she is going to be a grandmother and she retires from the State Department and moves to San Francisco to spend more time with her family.
?eljko Ivanek as Russell Jackson, White House Chief of Staff. His primary objective of keeping the President politically secure at home and abroad sets him up for occasional confrontations with Secretary McCord's unorthodox diplomatic maneuvering. Elizabeth then appoints him as her White House Chief of Staff 98 days into her presidency.
Erich Bergen as Blake Moran, Elizabeth's personal assistant, and the only member of her staff that she hired rather than inherited. After college, he began a career in finance on Wall Street, but hated it. In season5, Elizabeth made good on her promise to fire him, only to rehire him as her new assistant policy advisor.
Patina Miller as Daisy Grant, Elizabeth's press coordinator. Daisy briefly dates Matt in season1, but goes on to date other men following their breakup. In season3, she dates "Kevin" from Budget and Planning, who turns out to be an undercover operative for the CIA investigating the State Department. He is killed in a weapons-trafficking conspiracy, and Daisy subsequently finds herself pregnant with his child. In the fourth season, Daisy gives birth to her daughter Joanna Grant.
Wallis Currie-Wood as Stephanie "Stevie" McCord, Elizabeth and Henry's older daughter. Stevie attended Lovell University and later Georgetown University and applied to Harvard Law school. Stevie serves as an intern to Russell Jackson and was, for a time, engaged to Jareth Glover. She has an affair with Dmitri Petrov (then undercover) in season4 that puts her in peril.
Kathrine Herzer as Alison McCord (seasons 1-5), Elizabeth and Henry's younger daughter.
Evan Roe as Jason McCord (seasons 1-5; recurring season 6), Elizabeth and Henry's teenage son, a self-proclaimed anarchist. Jason is critical of political systems in general, but in season1 he is expelled from his school for punching a student who insulted Elizabeth. He eventually dates Piper Boroumand.
Sebastian Arcelus as Jay Whitman (seasons 3-5; recurring seasons 1-2), Elizabeth's current chief of staff and previous senior policy advisor. In season3, it is revealed that Jay's busy schedule working for the Secretary has strained his marriage. He is currently separated from his wife Abby, who maintains custody of their daughter Chloe. Jay is promoted to chief of staff in season4 after Nadine Tolliver leaves. In season 5, while stuck at an airport with Elizabeth and her staff, Jay meets Annelies De Runnow (Marissa Neitling), a world famous chess player, and they develop an attraction to each other. After several hours stuck in the airport, Jay and Annelies agree to start a long-distance relationship. Although Elizabeth eventually decides to run for president (a campaign she eventually wins), Jay decides to leave her campaign and pass on the chance to become her chief of staff to start a life with Annelies.
Sara Ramirez as Kat Sandoval (seasons 4-5), Elizabeth's policy advisor and a former chief of staff to the UN Ambassador.
Kevin Rahm as Michael "Mike B." Barnow (season 6; recurring seasons 1-5), a political operator who is said to drift between the United States Cabinet departments. It is mentioned that he is a Rhodes Scholar, who turned his brilliant legal career into a promising political career that was cut short by a scandalous divorce six years prior to his first appearance before settling into his current job. His unofficial role as an adviser to Secretary McCord earned him a reputation as her 'hatchet man'. Elizabeth later appoints him as the campaign manager of her successful presidential campaign and, after her victory in the 2020 election, he serves as her White House Chief of Staff for her first 100 days. Although Elizabeth asks him to remain as chief of staff, he refuses but remains at the White House as a Counselor to the President. Before his death, he was rarely seen without his dog Gordon.
Jason Ralph as Harrison Dalton (seasons 1-2), son of President Dalton and long-time friend of Stevie McCord. In season1, it is revealed Harrison has a drug addiction and is color blind. In season4 it is revealed that he is back in rehab.
Jill Hennessy as Jane Fellows (season 2), Henry's DIA superior, and a member of Murphy Station; the first Ishbal Jahed task force
Kobi Libii as Oliver Shaw (season 2; guest season 3), the Cybersecurity Coordinator. Shaw looked into the attack against Air Force One and is the love interest of Daisy Grant in the second season.
Chris Petrovski as Dmitri Petrov (seasons 2, 4; guest season 3), a 24-year-old Russian Army captain who studied at the National War College. He was recruited by Professor Henry McCord (on behalf of the DIA) to become an American spy in exchange for getting his sick sister medical care in Stockholm, Sweden. Dmitri is captured by the Russians and eventually exchanged to the Americans for another traitor to the state. Following his capture Dmitri feels abandoned by Henry and is very angry and bitter toward him. He is placed into a witness protection program under the name Alexander (Alex) Mehranov. In season4, he gets recruited by the CIA as an analyst.
Masha King as Talia Petrov, Dmitri's sister who was placed into witness protection with her brother and is now his roommate
Carlos Gómez as Jose Campos (seasons 2-3), an Ishbal Jahed task force member. Initially had a combative relationship with Henry McCord but they eventually became friends.
Tonya Pinkins as Susan Thompson (seasons 3-present), Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Afairs and, as of the end of season5, Acting Secretary of State and later Secretary of State in the McCord Administration. Assistant Secretary Thompson is a key voice in bringing African issues to the leadership's attention, such as encouraging the Secretary to intervene in the Angolan election in season3.
J. C. MacKenzie as Sam Evans (season 3), the governor of Pennsylvania and the presidential nominee for Dalton's party. Evans is particularly vindictive during the campaign and, following Dalton's victory through a vote in the House of Representatives, threatens to have the vote overturned due to little-known law he claims Elizabeth broke. However, he is manipulated into accepting the terms of the vote after Russel Jackson threatens to expose him for having a gene that makes him likely to develop early-onset Alzheimer's.
Christopher O'Shea as Jareth Glover, Stevie's fiancé from England. He gave up a fellowship at Oxford to return to America to be with Stevie after she had trouble adjusting to life in England. His family is a member of the upper class and even nobility in England. Stevie and Jareth broke up in season4.
In August 2013, it was announced Madam Secretary was in development at CBS, co-written by Barbara Hall.Madam Secretary is about "the personal and professional life of a maverick female secretary of state, as she drives international diplomacy, wrangles office politics and balances a complex family life."
The pilot was directed by David Semel. On May 9, 2014, Madam Secretary received a series order at CBS. A preview trailer was released on May 14, 2014.Madam Secretary premiered on CBS on September 21, 2014, and on October 27, 2014, CBS picked up the series for a full season of 22 episodes.Madam Secretary was renewed for a sixth season on May 9, 2019. On May 15, 2019, it was announced the sixth season would be the series' final season and would comprise 10 episodes. It is set to premiere on October 6, 2019.
Bebe Neuwirth left the series after the third episode of the fourth season.Sara Ramirez joined the cast as Kat Sandoval, replacing Bebe Neuwirth as a series regular. Hall said, "She brings a fresh perspective and a fun, energetic quality to the State Department staff."
On August 6, 2019, it was revealed that Ramirez would not return as a regular for the sixth and final season. Nearly a month later on September 3, it was revealed that original regulars Arend, Roe, and Herzer, and later additions Keith Carradine and Sebastian Arcelus would also be dropped from the main cast; however, Carradine was expected to make at least one guest appearance, and the others would likely appear according to their work schedules. Additionally, Kevin Rahm, who had recurred as McCord's advisor Michael "Mike B." Barnow since the second half of the first season, would be upgraded to regular status.
By September 2019, the first five seasons of Madam Secretary are available on Netflix. In Finland, Madam Secretary premiered on MTV3 on January 1, 2015. The series has been popular in Finland: 9% of Finnish people watched the first episode.
Note: During several weeks through the season, the series airs at 10:30p.m. ET/9:30p.m. CT to allow for football and golf overruns (there are no delays from Mountain Time westward). Since its move to the last hour of primetime, several new episodes have been delayed a week at the last minute due to a game's overrunning, thus local newscasts can still start as close to 11:00p.m. ET/ 10:00p.m. CT as possible; in this case, a repeat airs in the Mountain Time Zone westward instead, with Canadian broadcaster Global following CBS's scheduling in order to take advantage of simsub advertising opportunities.
Madam Secretary has been met with generally positive reviews from TV critics. On Metacritic, the show has a score of 66 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes, the show holds a rating of 67% based on reviews from 52 critics. The site's consensus for the first season reads, "Bolstered by Tea Leoni's strong central performance, Madam Secretary is a solid but unspectacular political drama."
When the trailer of the fifteenth episode of the third season titled "Break in Diplomacy" was released showing McCord responding to unwanted sexual advances by fictional Philippine president Datu Andrada by punching Andrada in the face, it became controversial in the Philippines. Viewers thought there were parallels between Andrada and real-life Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who was known for making inappropriate and sexist remarks. The Philippine Embassy in Washington published a statement protesting the negative depiction of the presidential character on its Facebook page.
The fourth-season premiere, "News Cycle", led to a protest from East Timor's Minister of State José Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He said, "It is a slander against a country that only shows ignorance and racism." The TV show used the border dispute between Australia and East Timor in the Timor Sea as background story. (The dispute is transferred in the TV show to the South China Sea, although neither Australia nor East Timor borders it.) East Timor is shown as a country controlled by a Mexicandrug cartel and used for drug transfer. US Secretary of State McCord is asking China to take measures to prevent the leader of the drug cartel from making a narco-state out of East Timor.